Leanne Plowman’s varied experience across the small business landscape combined with her belief in the pursuit of a healthy mind, body and soul led her to start her own venture Tre Tesori Natural Therapy, in the visually stunning regional town of Wooli, in Northern New South Wales. Tre Tesori offers a holistic skincare and wellness experience, specialising in luxurious facials, for her loyal customer base of local residents, and seasonal visitors seeking relaxation and restoration.
How did your background in small business lead you to setting up business in Wooli?
My experience in the small business world began in my late adolescence, exposing me to a range of legal services and hospitality (accommodation) enterprises, and eventually culminating in a partnership with my husband in a high-end lighting business.
In my various roles, I was fortunate to have excellent mentors and role models who empowered me to develop a broad range of skills vital to becoming a successful business woman. I acquired secretarial, book keeping and administration skills, along with experience in event management, communication, marketing, sales and networking. Two particular attributes that have contributed to my success in small business are my attention to detail and a capacity for strategic planning.
My extensive experience in small business coupled with my resoluteness to achieve positive outcomes for clients, and my life long passion for holistic skin care, provided the perfect nexus for the birth of Tre Tesori (meaning three treasures).
Upon moving to Wooli, I needed to find a way to return to the workforce that would still allow me the flexibility to raise my young family. I began with blending some beauty products (lip balms, hand wash and facial oil). The Tre Tesori logo and business name was born, reflecting my personal philosophy of a healthy mind, body and soul. After completing my qualifications in Diploma of beauty therapy, Tre Tesori came to encompass the wider natural therapy and skincare business.
How has natural skincare helped revolutionise the skincare industry, and why is it important?
The significant increase in the use of natural skincare products can be largely attributed to more discerning consumers and practitioners.
Previously, the average consumer was not privy to the list of ingredients in skincare products, or the methods used in production. In turn, this also resulted in a lack of public awareness about both the synthetic and potentially harmful chemicals contained in the potions they were using on their faces and bodies. Many of these chemicals can actually weaken and/or irritate the skin and even more alarmingly, penetrate the skin, e.g. endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.
The availability of online information has allowed consumers to educate themselves about the potential danger of these products, and led to a demand for natural products. Supply responds to demand and a burgeoning natural skincare industry is the result.
Increased consumer awareness has led to tighter government regulations about ingredients (e.g. the banning of microbeads), the need for accurate and non misleading product labelling, and the comprehensive listing of all ingredients. Buyers are also demanding environmentally friendly, non-pollutive production methods and packaging for their products.
It could be said that it is the discerning consumer that has led to the revolution in the skincare industry resulting in the emergence of the natural skincare phenomenon.
Natural skincare products are integral to a holistic approach to wellness (physically, mentally and emotionally), giving the consumer and the practitioner peace of mind about the wholesome ingredients being used in treatments that truly nourish the skin.
Tell us about how your approach to holistic beauty and wellness, and managing down time to replenish energy, differs from traditional beauty therapy.
The business name Tre Tesori encapsulates the philosophy behind my approach to holistic beauty and wellness. My focus is on the mind and soul in addition to the body.
New clients are required to complete a survey before treatment begins, giving me an insight into their lifestyle, stressors, diet, exercise regime and health issues. This survey data guides my pre-treatment consultation with clients allowing me to tailor their beauty room experience to individual needs.
I am able to delve behind the physical symptoms when providing a treatment, to look at some possible causes. Consequently, I am likely to suggest some lifestyle changes in tandem with skin treatments and products as part of this holistic approach.
When clients enter my beauty room, every effort is made to ensure that for the duration of the appointment, they are my sole focus of attention. I create a relaxing, calm and nurturing aesthetic for clients to enjoy some down time and shut themselves off from the outside world. I make it a point never to make a client feel rushed by ensuring that I have a time buffer before and after appointments.
After care and home care is discussed at the conclusion of appointments, along with a check-in with clients via text message or phone call in the days following their treatment.
Traditional therapy, on the other hand, simply focuses on the ‘body’. It would involve a similar routine when, for instance, doing a facial i.e. cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturising. However, the products may contain synthetic preservatives, perfumes, colours or even petroleum- based ingredients. Techniques may also differ.
A mantra I would like my clients to follow is: I am worth healing; I am worth the time it takes to learn how to nourish myself; I love you, body. (Louise Hay)
What steps did you take to develop a loyal client base?
Building a loyal client base has been a challenge in a location with a small and quite transient population, along with a seasonal influx of part time residents and tourists.
Initially, the business grew through a letter box drop and word of mouth. This was soon supplemented with a social media presence on Facebook, then Instagram. The social media pages are primarily to keep the business name in the minds of consumers, along with the advertising of promotional packages for treatments and products.
Tre Tesori celebration packages and events (including lucky tickets and competitions) are also popular and have proven to be an effective means of rewarding client loyalty.
I believe that my authentic, caring and holistic approach, so integral to my business practice, is influential in gaining my loyal client base. This is evidenced by feedback from new clients who have made appointments based on ‘word of mouth’ referral along with return business.
A website, that will include a blog, is in its formative stage. And when launched, will complement my substantial social media presence.
Your greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge in creating Tre Tesori came from arriving in a remote town with few facilities, at a time when I was pursuing a new career path and hoping to establish a successful business.
The first task was to find a suitable premises for a beauty room. There is no shopping precinct in Wooli, so I had to think creatively when searching for a venue. Through support of a well respected local Glenice Small and negotiation with the Clarence Valley Council, I was able to set up a room that was previously used by Wooli C.W.A (now defunct) located in the Wooli Community Hall/Centre.
Once the beauty room was fitted out, the challenge was to attract clients. In addition to the steps previously mentioned, it was important to establish visibility in the local community. Working in tandem with local fundraising endeavours through the provision of vouchers and/or products proved to be beneficial.
Making positive connections through joining local organisations was also a successful means of gaining visibility in the local community, with the added benefit of attracting clients.
Photo Credit: Memories captured by Sarah
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